How the Mighty Fall

I’m going to share a controversial opinion. Please don’t hate me or at least get your finger away from that “unsubscribe” button. Okay, here it goes:

I don’t like fall.

Whew! I said it, and I can’t take it back. I mean, unless I hit the delete key a few times, or take down this post, but it needed to be said. Hey, put down that pitchfork! Let me explain myself. I’m not trying to make anybody angry. I just know I can’t be the only one, so maybe this will reach a kindred spirit who won’t feel so alone for the next few months.

I don’t hate fall (or autumn if we’re feeling fancy). It’s just if I’m ranking seasons, it goes summer, spring, the hilarious mix up with Four Seasons Landscaping, winter, and then fall. And I know that’s an unpopular opinion. Almost everyone I know would say that fall is their favorite (or autumn is their favourite; po-tay-to, po-tah-to). Most of them are also very quick to shit all over summer, especially if they’re sharing feelings on the internet, saying it’s too hot and gross and ew, who likes anything that ever happens in summer? This does nothing to redeem their opinion in my eyes.

One of the first things everyone lauds about fall is the leaves, except that doesn’t do it for me. My favorite color is green. If the leaves and bushes and grass are already the best color, they can only get worse. And what colors do they change? Mostly orange and yellow, which are my two least favorite colors. That isn’t to say I can’t appreciate a brightly changed autumn tree when the sun hits it just right and it practically glows. I’ll even comment aloud, “Wow, that’s pretty!” and take a picture. But I still prefer green trees to any other color. And then the leaves come down and they make a huge mess. They clutter yards and sidewalks where they get slimy and slick, or they dry out to blow into our homes and cars where they break into millions of tiny pieces that are impossible to vacuum out of carpets.

Sometimes they accumulate in innocent looking piles and when you find a gorgeous moment of sunshine in the ever-shortening days, you go for a run, but when you run over the inconspicuous pile, you discover that it was playing host to a cloud of horrible little gnats hovering exactly at face height, which you inhale while you’re already fighting to gulp down whatever oxygen you can. Because let’s be real: most of fall isn’t cold enough to actually kill the bugs we all loathe. That doesn’t come until winter is truly underway.

Another praise of fall is “Pumpkin spice everything!” Again, thanks but no thanks. I like pumpkin, but sparingly. I am excited about the return of pumpkin curry to my favorite Thai restaurant’s menu for the season, and I will enjoy both making and eating a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving and probably Christmas as well. But apple is a far superior autumn flavor, especially if you’re throwing in tons of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice anyway.

I can appreciate the cooler weather a bit, but I like it most because I like watching it rejuvenate Pippin. Unlike fall’s most vocal supporters, I don’t start longing for it in June. I think this is my biggest gripe about the ever-louder fall favorers: they don’t let the rest of us enjoy summer while it’s here. Right after Memorial Day (the end of May for my non-American friends) a few people start sharing nonsense about “Whew, it’s too hot! I’m ready for cozy sweaters by a bonfire and a pumpkin spice latte!” Bitch, it’s not even actually summer yet! Actual summer isn’t for three more weeks! Some of the trees aren’t even fully leafed out yet! You can have a bonfire now, and you don’t have wear an itchy sweater to enjoy it! And you can chuck a cinnamon stick in any beverage! I won’t judge you for that, cinnamon is nice! Everything will die soon enough and you can enjoy your stupid autumn then, but let everything live and grow first.

Sorry, I really needed to let that out, I guess.

I do like spooky season. I love seeing the creativity and craftsmanship showcased in really good Halloween costumes and to my mother’s chagrin, I have long held a fascination with spooky media that falls a little short of horror, like the Addams Family, Ghostbusters, and Beetlejuice (which all had Saturday morning cartoons that I liked almost as much as Looney Tunes and The Flintstones).

And I enjoy seeing how other people put up Halloween decorations. I’ve never been much of a decorator myself, especially when it comes to seasonal decorations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what other people do. Even when it comes to Christmas decorations, it just always feels like a chore to get the decorations out of storage and arrange them nicely. After several years of Christmas-tree-induced emotional breakdowns, I finally pinpointed the problem. Surprise, surprise, it’s very similar to my attitude about the leaves changing. My standard “every day” decorations that are on display in my house for the majority of the year are my favorite things. I wouldn’t put them up if I didn’t really like them. But the seasonal things, even though I picked them myself and they’re nice, still fall short of my favorite things. Why would I want to replace my favorite things with things that I don’t like as much?

I still put up a few fall decorations each year, but I wait until summer is undeniably over first and then go with generic autumn that will be appropriate all the way until Christmas. If I’m going to this effort, I’m covering harvest, Halloween, and Thanksgiving in one fell swoop. This September was still so warm that I managed to hold off until this past weekend. October is well and truly autumn, so I decided it was finally time, and I must begrudgingly admit that the leaf garland does look really nice against the new paint in the bedroom (it’s not new new, but it wasn’t there last autumn, so it’s new for the decor). No one will ever look at my decorations and think I had help from an interior designer, but it’s fine.

When I worked at the library, seasonal decoration often got divvied up among staff, and I fondly remember commiserating with a coworker about not knowing what to do with a certain garland and a few small figurines. As a Jehovah’s Witness, my coworker had even less familiarity with holiday decorations. We piled the garland around some picture frames on a shelf and shrugged at each other, “I guess that works?”

I’m never going to stop fall from happening, and I do like living somewhere that gets a full spectrum of seasonal changes. I’m not even saying that no one should like fall. All I’m asking is that we enjoy each season when it’s happening instead of spending them all wishing for something else.

3 thoughts on “How the Mighty Fall

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  1. This is understandable. You have always liked green. I like September and the cooler weather, but I dislike October. Perhaps it’s because the pretty leaves fall in October and in September they are just starting to show their true colors. And I have never enjoyed Halloween. It is not because of the goriness, it just seems to be rife with bad things happening. And about that decor….I, too, love my house as it is and struggle with putting those things away so I can put out seasonal (and I mean any season or holiday here) decor. Here’s my practice: I will put out a few things and they can stay out until I have to dust the furniture beneath them or around them, and then the season is over as far as decor no matter what the calendar says! That stuff has got to go! 😉. Great read!

  2. I agree with you completely! I was just saying to Jim this morning what a mess our catalpa tree is making with it’s big, dry, clunky leaves all over! A person spends all summer trying to sweep and rake and be tidy, and then along comes big, old, schlumpy fall, leaving a mess everywhere, like the Pigpen character in Peanuts cartoons. And we spend all summer watering and feeding and weeding trying to keep everything alive and along comes death, disguised as fall, to kill everything. And I’m not too crazy about winter either — but that’s a whine for another time! 🙂

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